Seasonal habits die hard.  It just feels like agency new business planning should be in the air!

Years ago, as a Consumer Marketing Manager for top household cleaning products, spring brought flowers, birds returning from winter homes, and the hatching of the business planning process for the upcoming calendar year.

It’s highly likely that the greening grass, leafing trees, and chirpy birdsong have booted up the Business Planning Program in my brain.

With business planning on my mind in such a pronounced way, articles from around the industry specifically about AGENCY NEW BUSINESS planning seem to be raining on me as well as lingering April Showers (um…Mother Nature?  It’s May now…).

Among them are Peter Levitan’s January 3 post, How to Build A Winning Advertising Agency New Business Program.

Within the excellent recommendations of this post is a statistic that leapt out:

“66% Of Advertising Agencies Report That They Do Not Have a Business Development Plan.”  

In a similar vein, a RSW/US survey of advertising executives probed dynamics behind the short tenure of agency New Business Directors (average 18 months at the time of the survey).  Sixty-six percent (66%) of respondents indicated lack of an agency new business methodology was one factor inhibiting the performance and results delivered by their new business directors.

Now, methodology is far more tactical than a plan, but certainly they fit together.  However, that 66% of agencies report through independent channels the absence of any structure to guide their agency new business efforts is attention-getting.

The importance of an agency new business development plan was number one on Brian Shea’s recent guest post for us: 5 Ways to Take the Pain Out of Agency New Business.

Many agencies offer their clients world-class strategic planning services, and ironically, neglect to apply the same attention, discipline and service to their own business.

Whenever you begin making plans for 2017 – whether it’s a spring ritual or it belongs to another season in your firm – force yourself and insist with your team that any new business initiative has a strong foundation for success by way of a strategic plan.

Just as you would for your clients, study the market for your services and your competition.  Examine closely strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats…yes…SWOT!  Enlist an objective outside expert for unbiased guidance if at all possible.  Quantify your objectives.

It would take a book rather than a post to adequately guide development of a sound new business development plan.   Of course, many exist.  As you undertake the planning process for the upcoming year, keep these things in mind:

  • Achieve success by creating AND IMPLEMENTING your new business development plan. Establish weekly and monthly goals. Track progress to these goals.
  • As Michael Gerber writes for Inc., there is a secret to a business plan that “always works”.

Here’s to the renewal and growth that comes with spring!  And here’s to rejuvenation and growth that a strong agency new business plan can drive.

Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.